Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Lavished with Grace

It is a busy season here, with so many new routines and activities. But as I say to the strangers in the grocery store who exclaim, "You're busy!" when they see my cart-full of children, "Yes, but it's a good busy." And I am so thankful that one of my new busy things is the Good Morning Girls group. Besides the wonderful (albeit virtual) fellowship with some dear sisters in Christ, I am finding precious blessings in making time daily to dig deeper into God's Word, pulling out each jewel of Scripture to examine it and delight in its beauty.

The Ephesians study is perfect for me, because I actually started memorizing Ephesians a few years ago. I learned through somewhere in Chapter 2 before, sadly, I neglected my resolution. This year, I am hoping to resume memorizing one of my most-underlined books as I study a few verses each day and reflect on what God wants to say to me. Having His Word in my heart always yields blessings!

Today we looked at Ephesians 1:7-10:
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace, which he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. And he made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment -- to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.

In these verses, I am struck by the luxury: the riches of God’s grace that He lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. According to, the Greek word translated “lavished” is perisseuĊ, which can mean “to exceed a fixed number of measure, to be left over and above a certain number or measure” or “to make to abound.” It is used in Matthew 14 and 15 to refer to the basketfuls of bread that were left over after Jesus fed the crowds. A sub-definition of the second meaning is “to furnish one richly so that he has abundance.”

When I think of words like this, I tend to think of material possessions, or even the blessings of health, family, and fellowship. But God says that what He lavished on us was grace - the forgiveness of sins that we have through the blood of Jesus. He didn't just give us what we need, carefully measuring a cup of grace for each sin. No, He poured it out, burying even the vilest of sinners in a shower of incredible forgiveness. What incredible luxury!

The word is used several more times throughout the New Testament. For example:
- Then he said to them, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." (Luke 12:15)
- How much more did God's grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! (Rom. 5:15)
- the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God (2 Cor. 4:15)
- their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity (2 Cor. 8:2)
- And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. (2 Cor. 9:8)

Abounding, overflowing, lavish grace: that is what the Lord God extended to me. Like silks and jewels overflowing a queen's treasury, I am blessed with so many riches that I simply cannot count - or contain - them. God's grace fills me, leaving an abundance left over to share with others. His forgiveness, His love, His joy, must trickle out from me as I realize how blessedly rich I am in Christ.

Practically, how can I extend this grace to my children? How can I discipline when it is warranted without ceasing to pour out grace? How can I show them the great and amazing forgiveness of the Lord? How can I overcome headaches, tension, exhaustion, and sibling battles to overflow with goodness? Second Corinthians 9:8 promises that I will abound in every good work. Raising my children, loving my husband, keeping my home, studying God's Word - these are the good works He has given me in this season, and His overflowing grace WILL supply all that I need. I am so thankful for this refreshing reminder that I am a blessed recipient of the amazing, abundant, luxurious grace of God!

And as one who has been forgiven with unmeasured grace, my role is to let it overflow, spilling and spreading God's beautiful grace all around me. May we all be overflowing vessels as we realize that our redemption through Christ's blood is the ultimate gift from a lavishly generous Father.

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